Moderate Coffee Drinking More Likely To Benefit Health Than To Harm It

moderate coffee drinking

Moderate coffee drinking more likely to benefit health than to harm it

Drinking coffee in moderate amounts is good for health, according to the BMJ. The researchers in The BMJ bring together evidence from over 200 studies and find that drinking three to four cups of coffee per day is associated with a lower risk of getting heart disease, compared with drinking no coffee. Coffee is also linked with lower risks of some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia. On the other hand, coffee drinking may be associated with harms during pregnancy.

The included studies used mainly observational data, with lower quality evidence, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about the cause and effects, but their findings back up other recent researches and studies about coffee intake. As such, they say, excluding pregnancy, “coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption”, and they suggest that coffee could be safely tested in randomized trials.

Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review

Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide and could have positive health benefits. But existing evidence is of lower quality from observational research and randomized controlled trials are needed to strengthen the evidence of benefits.

To better understand the effects of coffee consumption on health, a team led by Dr Robin Poole, Specialist Registrar in Public Health at the University of Southampton, with collaborators from the University of Edinburgh, carried out an umbrella review of 201 studies that had aggregated data from observational research and 17 studies that had aggregated data from clinical trials across all countries and all settings.

Umbrella reviews synthesize previous meta-analyses and provide a high-level summary of research on a particular topic

Coffee Health benefits

Drinking coffee was consistently associated with a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease, with the largest reduction in relative risk of death at three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers. Increasing consumption to above three cups a day was not associated with harm, but the beneficial effect was less pronounced.

Coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, gallstones and gout. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Finally, there seemed to be beneficial associations between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

The same could not be said about drinking decaf coffee, although it had some similar effects.

Do not drink coffee for health reasons

Coffee is usually consumed with other products, rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, which may independently contribute to various effects of one’s health.

According to these studies, moderate coffee consumption is safe and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population. But, people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons. As the study shows, some people may be at higher risk of adverse effects and there is uncertainty about the effects of high level intake.

Read the full research “Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes” here.